Conquering Dragons

“Conquering Dragons”

A Centering Moment by Pat Andrews, Director of Behavioral Health (WV and PA)

I ran across a GK Chesterton quote recently that went something like this:

“We tell children fairy tales not so that they will believe in dragons but so that they will believe that dragons can be conquered.”

It’s no secret that 2020 has had more than its fair share of challenges. But so have the young people we serve.  Sadly, most children in BCC’s care have felt the fire of dragons named poverty, illness, addiction, domestic violence, loss, racism, bullies, and abuse.

And yet, teaching our heroes and heroines how to fight them is BCC’s purpose.

It made my week yesterday when I witnessed a formerly sullen and angry young lady utilize a technique called the Anger Control Chain.  This was a brand-new skill she was taught over the past few weeks in group therapy and is part of BCC’s evidence-based practice rollout called Aggression Replacement Training.

That moment represents for me what my career as a therapist and BCC’s work is all about.

As we face challenge after challenge and see the dragons of mental illness, loneliness, illiteracy, hopelessness, and anger fall we rejoice and savor the moment of victory before preparing for the next battle.

It sounds exhausting; and it is…but like in any good band of comrades we take care of ourselves and each other and as the apostle Paul challenged us through his letters to the disciples in ancient Galatia; “Do not become weary in well doing. For when the time is right you will be rewarded if you don’t give up.”

So, be encouraged, don’t give up… and let’s get to work conquering dragons.

 

Centering Moments are part of BCC’s culture.  They are typically shared at the beginning of our larger meetings, such as with our senior leadership team or at the quarterly all staff meetings. Many thanks to Pat Andrews for this beautiful one and for her permission to repost it on BCC’s website.

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BCC Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2020

September is Hispanic Heritage Month and BCC is celebrating it with members of our Hispanic community!

On Wednesday, September 16th, the  Caminos program kicked off BCC’s “Celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana” with Hispanic Heritage display tables and a carryout cuisine sampling.

Through the sights, sounds, and flavors of Latin America, the Caminos program gave the youth and staff of the Baltimore Campus a glimpse of the diverse traditions of Latinx culture.

Hispanic Heritage Month has been officially recognized in the United States since 1968. The celebration lasts from September 15th until October 15th.  September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for various Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.

Thank you to our Caminos program team and everyone who came out to celebrate!

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Jim Young Memorial Golf Tournament Online Auction

Jim Young Memorial Golf Tournament Banner

The Jim Young Memorial Golf Tournament silent auction is moving online for 2020!

The 2020 Jim Young Memorial Golf Tournament Silent Auction is open!

We have taken our annual tradition of a silent auction online this year! This means that even if you are not able to take part in the golf tournament, you still have the opportunity to bid on some fantastic items from local businesses, experiences to treat yourself or a special someone, and even handcrafted ceramics and pottery made by Board of Child Care Art Students.

You can view the auction items at www.accelevents.com/e/JIMYOUNG

Once the auction opens on September 9, 2020, and closes September 18th.  You will be asked to create a log in for the site, and will be directed how to view and bid on items. You can also text to bid following the site instructions.

There is both the option to bid on the website or you can also “Text to Bid” by using the number listed on the website in the Text to Bid window and the corresponding 3 Letter code on each item and the amount of your bid.

Proceeds from the sale of auction items will be going directly to support the youth and programs of the Board of Child Care. Certain items from special donors will benefit specific groups or programs and will be noted in the item description.

Please take a few moments to see what we have to offer, get a head start on making your Christmas Shopping list, or just treat yourself! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Aaron Andrews at aandrews@boardofchildcare.org

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Request for Proposal – Asana Consultant

Overview and Background

Board of Child Care’s (BCC) Chief Operating Officer is seeking an Asana consultant for an August/September engagement with 1:1 monthly coaching thereafter (at least through the rest of 2020).  The COO hopes to decide on consultant by Monday, August 24 with work to begin thereafter. Applications will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis.

BCC is a medium-size not-for-profit organization (850 employees, $45 million annual budget) serving children and families across the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA. www.boardofchildcare.org/programs

Some terms and definitions:

  • Executive Leadership Team (ELT): Six people comprised of the CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) and two Executive Directors (both handle responsibility for program oversight in MD/DC and WV/PA respectfully)
  • Senior Leadership Team (SLT): Members of ELT plus all the organization’s Vice Presidents (3) and Directors/Managers (18) across both programing and support department functional areas.

The COO was an early adopter of Asana and brought it to BCC six years ago (user of one – him) having used it at his prior job (again user of one).  Today, the teams that the COO directly oversees use Asana in their day to day function and coordination (IT / marketing / Quality Assurance / Fundraising / Administrative Support). These teams have an expectation of clearing their Asana inbox at least once a day and discussions on Asana norms and workflows within those teams occur on a regular basis.  These are the easiest teams to do this with as the COO oversees them.  As in most stories of software adoption, however, it gets more difficult as you expand across the org chart, and this is really where the consultant comes in.

The Executive team (and a handful of SLT members) have been using Asana well to coordinate new program launches, respond to particularly complicated RFP type proposals, pre-work and actual coordination of a merger with another non-profit in 2019, plan events, and several other types of work. They have coded in the strategic plan to the software last year and this year but has had fits and starts of getting people to keep their items up to date. There are corporate KPI’s that the ELT tracks in Asana (although the COO suspects the consultant will have a better way to do this).  A limitation the ELT feels is that the work effort of putting the KPI’s in Asana doesn’t translate to everyone knowing the KPI’s or where they stand (nor do people feel a connection to how their work impacts those KPI’s).

Like most pieces of software, Asana usage even across ELT and some members of SLT varies and is inconsistent.  There isn’t consistent or in some cases any usage of the Asana inbox, and there are still big gaps in time where some Asana members don’t update their tasks or projects so you lose that sense of momentum and “what’s going on?”  There is a common declaration by some that the Asana inbox is always impossible to get to given the high volume of email they receive for normal business and programing operations.

The COO and the CEO both feel that culturally everyone on ELT agrees in concept that there are good bones to Asana usage at BCC (in some functional areas more than others) and that as a leadership team ELT does see the potential for the software to really manage the strategic plan and all the elements that need to hum along to achieve the outcomes they desire.

Deliverable

What the COO is looking for in a consultant is someone who can help bring Asana to that next level at BCC.  That next level means:

  • Reviewing how the COO onboards people to the software and transitioning the burden of this from him to others.
  • Reviewing the actual project and team structure in Asana and documenting it such that new users can get oriented to the “how BCC uses Asana” question.
  • All members of SLT are in the platform and that they are (at least monthly) updating their strategic projects and quarterly rocks (milestones). The COO and CEO feel we will be successful this year if the burden of updating 90% of the projects and milestones has moved from ELT to their direct reports, so ELT can spend more time on bandwidth, coaching, adjusting milestone delivery dates as new information is uncovered, and getting people unstuck.
  • It is easy to send our Board of Directors an update on how we’re doing without a lot of manual exports using Asana2go or the Google Drive integration currently employed.
  • Every member of SLT knows what THEY are responsible for (strategically) each quarter, and they know what each other are working on and how it’s going. The vision is, for example, that the director of the school BCC runs should know at a high level how the development team is doing fundraising wise, and the development vice president should know how the school is doing rolling out it’s new behavior management program.

Our vision is not that every member of SLT needs to be able to build complex implementation projects in the software. The natural list makers and early adopters will self-select into this skill.  But at the core once the ELT has set the goals, projects, milestones and thought about where they should be due, and the KPI’s, they want to see SLT execute on those.  Our vision is not that every member of SLT forgoe the use of email and only use the Asana inbox.  Generally the consensus (at least right now) on ELT is that they would be happy if SLT folks could at least be assigned tasks in the software, know that those tasks were seen, and that SLT will actually both complete the task AND mark it as done in the software (several current users are not good about actually marking things as done, which makes it difficult to actually know where a project stands). This whole dynamic is another area the COO feels a consultant can really give BCC lift.

At the moment, all members of ELT have a license and some members of senior leadership team does.  Some with licenses are not really “in” Asana each day. Some love the tool and use it every day, and some have no experience and no access to it yet.

In order to get the strategic plan to really live and breathe, the COO is seeking a consultant to help scale the Asana experience to this newbie group (about 40 people at various org chart levels – everyone on SLT and then a handful of other supporting roles and support departments that we really need to bring in to make this all work).

Finally, Microsoft Teams is included in BCC’s MS 365 subscription and the COO is seeing informal adoption of this tool across various groups.  While he has no interest in coding in the strategic plan to MS Teams (Asana it is not), he does want to avoid the confusion of “well I put that in teams but I was supposed to put that in Asana” or just that feeling of having too many inputs (email, Asana, MS team updates, etc.).  I need help from the consultant to lay out the framework for appropriate usage of MS teams and some clear training on what appropriate uses are for it (as it not feasible budget wise to bring everyone at BCC into Asana).

Requirements of the consultant:

  • Certified Asana Pro – while COO may consider someone who does not have this certification, preference is given to individuals who can bring scope and experience of how other companies have achieved what BCC is looking to do in Asana and the best way to do it.
  • Able to do video calls during normal business hours on Eastern Standard Time.
  • Can begin the engagement the week of August 24th
  • Clear communicator in English (written and oral). Must be able to create clear training materials.
  • Brings with them tools and templates that can be rapidly modified and deployed to BCC as appropriate.
  • Experience working with companies at least the size of BCC. Consultants who have not engaged clients as large or as complex as BCC (e.g. has many different service or product lines, large geographic area, Asana user base of at least 70) will unfortunately not be selected.  COO is not willing to be the first engagement of this size for a consultant.
  • Experience working with executive teams.
  • Can complete a reference check

How to Apply

Fill out the Asana form (obviously)

Deadline for applications:  Thursday, August 20

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Everyday Heroes – The Baird Family

BCC is proud to announce that the WMAR-2 News and Chick-fil-a Everyday Heroes award was presented to the Baird Family in the month of July.  The award is given to local families who go above and beyond to make a positive change in their community, using their time and talent. The Baird family is also part of BCC’s family through Bobby Baird, who is the agency’s, Chief Financial Officer.

The Bairds saw a need in their community and wanted to help when the COVID 19 pandemic struck back in March of 2020. Since that time, they have donated over 16,000 sandwiches to the Our Daily Bread Meal program in Baltimore.  Today, food donations continue to climb, and their impact continues to grow. In addition to the sandwiches the family makes to donate, they have collaborated with friends and neighbors to contribute things like homemade casseroles, hygiene supplies, and other necessities.

“It started with friends and family and neighbors and people who heard about it and wanted to help out. They randomly show up, and we can spot them now; they come into the neighborhood looking for the street number and asking, “Is this the Peanut Butter and Jelly House?” says Bobby Baird.

In addition to serving the Baltimore community with wife Lizzy and their five children, Bobby oversees all financial operations for the Board of Child Care, in addition to the Dietary and Maintenance services teams. We are proud to have the Bairds as co-workers and neighbors. They indeed are examples of everyday heroes!

Click HERE to see the video

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Juneteenth 2020 at BCC

Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas were told that they were emancipated and were free. This was two years after President Lincoln abolished slavery with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, but slavery was still practiced in many places. With the official announcement that slaves were freed by Union Army Major General Gordon Granger.

Juneteenth has grown in popularity over the years, and is truly symbolic this year because of what is currently going on in our country. Black people have been celebrating its importance, but especially now, Juneteenth is a holiday that can be honored and celebrated by everyone.

BCC would like to join in on the celebration of Juneteenth this Friday. Staff are encouraged to wear attire in support of Juneteenth and black history. Each BCC location will have a celebratory menu to keep to the celebration going.

Below are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth that we shared with our staff and we hope you find the list inspiring:

  • Read About It – Get more familiar with Juneteenth by reading books about it. You can also read books that share Black history as well.
  • Movies and popcorn – Watch movies about the Black experience on streaming services. Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are sharing free movies that can help you understand better the struggle of Black people in this country.
  • Participate – Encourage your workplace to celebrate Juneteenth as well and create a display for the workplace that is Juneteenth centric.
  • Wear It – Make or wear celebratory Juneteenth t-shirts or other celebratory attire that celebrates black history, black fraternities & sororities, HBCUs, Black Lives Matters, etc.
  • Decorate – Put up decorations around your home inside and out to show your festive mood.
  • Kiddos – Have your kids write a poem or a short story that is about Juneteenth.
  • Activity sheetsHere are some great activity sheets for your children to help them learn more about Juneteenth. You might even learn some things, too.
  • Recipes – Do you have a family recipe that has been passed down from generations? Why not make it on Juneteenth with your family?
  • New Traditions – Create a new family tradition that can be passed down to the next generation. Make it Juneteenth specific.
  • Virtual TourTake a 30-min, virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Slavery and Freedom exhibit.

No matter what ethnicity you are, celebrating Juneteenth is important to us all, as it is a part of our history. I hope the list above inspires you to join the celebrations on Freedom Day.

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juneteenth freedom day

Our purpose and BCC’s path forward

A Letter from BCC’s President & CEO

“Compassion asks for us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish.  Compassion means the full immersion of being human.” ~ Henri Nouwen.

To the communities BCC serves, our staff, and stakeholders,

I am disgusted and appalled at the murder of Mr. George Floyd.  This past week’s events, and the unfathomable pattern they are a part of, have made me realize that we are often silent on the racial injustice and discrimination that my colleagues and friends face every day. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Freddie Gray and countless others reinforce the brutal truth that the African American community still remains vulnerable and subjected to senseless acts of violence.  Not talking openly about racism allows it to grow in the shadows and helps seed the horrific events we witness.

Time and again I begin my all staff messages with our purpose statement:  enriching communities, one family at a time.  At BCC, we cannot fulfill our purpose statement without taking a stand against police brutality and racism.   Through this lens, I am looking at our own community and the hurt and fear many are experiencing.  As a broad and diverse organization that spans many states, cultures and communities, I realize that any message I post will be interpreted differently by each person because we bring our own set of perspective and lived experience. At the Board of Child Care – we must begin talking about racism that effects all of us.

This is a moment to care for and listen to one another, and to create intentional spaces for critical conversations about the role and sources of systemic racism in our own BCC community, our neighborhoods, States, regions and our country and to commit to solving them.  It is imperative to create a process for critical racial and diversity conversations at BCC.

To this end, BCC is building upon the revolutionary work of its internal LGBTQ+ committee and refining as expanding it to embrace Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  The Senior Leadership Team learned about the EDI committee in March just before COVID-19 began our collective immersion into our “new normal.”

The EDI committee will consist of colleagues from across the agency that serve in a variety of roles.  It will be a forum for important dialogue that generates problem solving and new ways of doing things that allows for recovering and healing at BCC. The EDI committee will help BCC learn how to create opportunities for conversations and interactions to allow for understanding appreciation of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. I stress here I will not rely on a committee to solve the huge social issue of racism, nor will it be the end of BCC’s efforts.  Like so many this week, however, I feel a sense of urgency to get started immediately and this is a mechanism I can activate quickly and build momentum from.

The EDI Committee will facilitate an informed conversation and thoughtful strategy around diversity and inclusion.  The strategy to be developed will include considerations and plans such as:

  • Develop an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pledge that declares the vision of BCC related to progress in this area of focus
  • Continue building psychological safety that promotes dialogue about racism and social injustices
  • Develop a cohesive EDI strategy and establish workable goals that may include things like:
    • Working with Human Resources to review and updating the policies and procedures of BCC so that all diversities are included
    • Establish days to celebrate and learn about our differences and similarities
    • Provide helpful consultation to Senior Leaders when managing the challenges of our diverse workforce
    • Influence and/or deliver training topics and content to improve our ability to interact with different cultures, becoming and being aware of one’s own cultural views and biases, develop tolerance for cultural differences and building cross-cultural skills across the workplace (orientation, ongoing education, Leadership and management academy, training requirements)
    • Influence the themes of the Wellness calendar to focus on diversity

As CEO, I will actively participate as a member of these efforts in the pursuit of an environment at BCC where there is equity, diversity and inclusion.  An environment that we all – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, religious beliefs, disability or age – can engage fully at BCC with joy and purpose in our special work.

Our BCC community is hurting. To that end, specific internal resources have been provided to staff. For the general public reading this message, I urge you to take a moment and be aware of your own bias. Take the implicit bias test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/index.jsp

We will stumble and make mistakes in this journey.  No doubt, we won’t get it right each time, but we will learn from our mistakes, like we do now, and learn and grow each time. I am eager to begin to face racism and injustices with you to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive BCC community. Together.

Warmly,

Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO

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Black Lives Matter

Core Value Winner (Impact) – May 2020

 

IMPACT drives lasting change

We seek to make lasting change in the lives of those we work with by providing services that are durable, measurable, and sustainable.  We will maximize our impact by investing in staff and board development.  Feedback gathered from our entire community will enhance and strengthen our programs and their outcomes. 

WINNER: Aleesha Gladden 

Aleesha is a Therapist at the Strawbridge School.  She has been a Rockstar this year, passionately taking the lead on two important projects.  Aleesha has organized several college and trade school tours for Strawbridge students, and the energy she brings to those tours has inspired some youth to commit to the next steps in their educational careers.  Aleesha has also implemented a new hip-hop group curriculum this year, using the universal language of music to connect with her high schoolers in new ways.  On top of the various ways she is impacting students, she also the “self-care queen” of Strawbridge, always reminding her colleagues to take care of themselves and prioritize their well-being.  Aleesha’s enthusiasm is inspiring for us all!

Congratulations Alessha and thank you!

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Core Value Winner (Empathy) – May 2020

 

Listen and Respond with EMPATHY

Empathy will guide our programming and culture at all levels.  A supportive work and program environment means possessing a desire to know and understand others. We recognize that with empathy we will better understand what type of care and encouragement to provide. 

WINNER: Elizabeth Diaz  

Although the Wraparound Program  is new to BCC, we have been doing a lot within the community and state. Being a part of the Wraparound Program, I have learned a lot watching Elizabeth show empathy not only to each family we work with, but to the everyone she encounters, especially the Wraparound Team. She takes the time to check in weekly with each of us to not only see what’s new with each family, but to check in on us and showing empathy during this crazy time of COVID-19. She listens and provides helpful feedback anytime and she is AWESOME!

Thank you, Elizabeth and congratulations!

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Core Value Winner (Relationships) – May 2020

 

Foster RELATIONSHIPS within our Community

Openness and honesty with all stakeholders make for both the best program outcomes and team culture. We, as an organization, must act with integrity, build trust with one another, and be committed to transparency about our decisions and promises.

WINNER: Cierra Phillips  

Here is what her nomination said:

I received a call from Cierra Phillips regarding a court case that was continued at least 3 times for a client who would be returning to her family home and Cierra would be sending the official discharge notification. I want to thank Cierra and the client’s team for navigating this case in a trauma responsive and professional manner. The client’s family had negative experiences throughout her time in care (pre-dating her placement at BCC) which impacted her placement at BCC. I witnessed firsthand how our team helped the family (mom) build a relationship that was based on trust. I know this case was more time demanding and difficult than most. I appreciate everyone meeting the family where they were in the process. Special thanks to Maggie for supervising a difficult visit, Donna D. for ensuring the youth’s needs were met, and both Kyle K. and Abbie W. for supporting Cierra and the youth at the court cases. Cierra was the first point of contact, and unfortunately endured most of the negative responses. She handled herself in a manner that makes me happy to have her on our team.

Congratulations and thank you!

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